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As We See It: What Santa leaves behind and why it matters

For those with children, the holidays mean something different. We all know the saying about it being better to give than to receive, but that saying really comes into focus when kids become part of your Christmas season. 

More than friends. More than partners. It’s the look of joy on a child’s face when they open their Christmas presents that make all the hassle, all the trips to the store, and the late nights putting together complicated toys and wrapping ungainly boxes worthwhile. 

Getting to play Santa Claus is fun, there is no denying it. 

But when you play Santa to the kids in your life this year, we’d like to ask you to do something – keep the big presents from you and make the gift from Santa something smaller. 

This wasn’t even something we’d thought of until we saw it mentioned in some social media posts. The thing is, kids talk to each other. They tell their friends and neighbors what they received. That includes what Santa left under the tree. 

While that kind of thing might seem harmless, for the kids from families with fewer resources it can make it seem like Santa doesn’t like them as well. If both kids asked Santa for a new PlayStation 5 or Xbox series X, and only one of the kids gets one “from Santa,” the kid who didn’t get the expensive and hard to find new gaming console might begin to wonder what they did wrong. 

It puts their parents in a hard spot too. None of them want to ruin the wonder of Christmas and the fantasy of Santa for their kids, but they also don’t want their kids feeling like they’ve somehow failed at being a “good” little boy or girl. 

It’s hard enough for parents to explain the inequities of wealth to kids in a way they can understand. So why do something that adds that burden to them at the holidays? A time when, ostensibly, our focus is on peace on earth, goodwill toward our fellow man, and a sense of community and selflessness. 

It isn’t our place to tell you how to raise your children, how much to spend, or what to buy them for Christmas. 

Some of you may choose to tell your kids the truth about Santa at age five. Some of you may maintain the fantasy until age ten, or later. Some of you may feel that you want the focus in your family to be on the Nativity story instead of Santa, and tell your children there is no such thing as Santa from the time of their first Christmas on. Some of you may also choose to eschew Santa for other ideological reasons. 

Whatever works best for you and your family is what you should do, as far as the Santa story goes, and it isn’t our place to tell you what to do here either. 

But if you DO choose to keep the Santa story alive in your family, we do ask that you make sure the gift Santa brings is a thoughtful – but humble – offering. 

We know none of you would intentionally choose to make Christmas a more stressful time for your friends, neighbors, or family and their children. So, whatever you choose to do with Santa this holiday season, please keep our humble request in mind. 

Another family, and child, is sure to be thankful for it, even if they don’t realize what you’ve chosen to do and why. After all, putting others first is a fundamental part of the holiday. 

So when you finish up your Christmas shopping, and start wrapping gifts for your children and grandchildren, we hope you keep our request in mind. 

We also hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving with your families and have a Very Merry Christmas this year. 

Happy holidays and God bless. – The Editorial Board of the Carter County Times

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